Event logs, as they occur in practice and research, can take a plethora of different forms and instantiations. Every system architecture that includes some sort of logging mechanism has so far developed their own, insular solution for this task. XES is an XML-based standard for event logs. Its purpose is to provide a generally-acknowledged format for the interchange of event log data between tools and application domains. Its primary purpose is for process mining, i.e. the analysis of operational processes based on their event logs. However, XES has been designed to also be suitable for general data mining, text mining, and statistical analysis. When designing the XES standard, the following goals have been used as guiding principles.
Use the simplest possible way to represent information. XES logs should be easy to parse and to generate, and they should be equally well human-readable. In designing this standard, care has been taken to take a pragmatic route wherever that benefits an ease of implementation.
The XES standard should be able to capture event logs from any background, no matter what the application domain or IT support of the observed process. Thus, XES aims to look beyond process mining and business processes, and strives to be a general standard for event log data.
It must be easy to add to the standard in the future. Extension of the standard should be as transparent as possible, while maintaining backward and forward compatibility. In the same vein, it must be possible to extend the standard for special requirements, e.g. for specific application domains, or for specific tool implementations.
While striving for a generic format, event logs serialized in XES should encounter as little loss of information as possible. Thus, all information elements must be strongly typed, and there must be a generic method to attach human-interpretable semantics to them.
Since XES strives to be a generic interchange format, only those elements which can be identified in virtually any setting are explicitly defined by the standard. All further information is deferred to optional attributes, which may be standardized (in terms of their semantics) by external extensions.